Friday, February 20, 2015

Pork, Garlic, Onions not threatened by AFTA – Abono

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

ROSALES – The chair of the farmers group Abono Party-List (APL) said that onions, garlic, meats like pork in the country are not threatened by the Asean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

AFTA took effect last January 1 this year. It covers the almost non-tariff exchange of products within the 10 members Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are voting members while Papua New Guinea is an observer in the body.
 APL chairman Rosendo So said that onion and garlic are from China while meats like pork are from the United States and European countries.
APL Chair So said the belief that AFTA, with its no-tariff regulation, could discourage smugglers will have no effect on the influx of meats in the Philippines.
Eng. So just came from a meeting with Senator Grace Poe where they discussed AFTA, agricultural trades with the U.S and Europe, and the weak policies of the Department of Agriculture on the imports from other countries.
“Gusto natin malaman kung hanggang saan sila, hanggang saan tayo kung paano ba ang export natin doon, ano ba ang hinahanap sa atin. Dapat ang sinasabi natin iyong export natin, tapos may food safety sila (other countries) doon na hindi basta-basta pumapasok ang kargamento sa kabila dapat kung ano ang safety natin dito dapat doon ganoon din,” he stressed.

He said for several months D.A Under Secretary Segfredo R. Serrano, who watches the department’s Policy, Planning, Research & Development and Regulations, have been assailed by farmers organization on the way he handles the importation of agricultural products.
“Nakikita natin pag iniimbita namin si U-Sec Serrano ang inaano niya export, pero ang import wala siyang masyadong concept
The APL chair cited the disturbing reports of smuggling of garlic, chicken, rice, pork, and others that illegally entered the ports in the Mindanao areas.
He cited that one records say that 5 million kilos of a certain products from Mainland China entered the Philippines but records in the latter show it was only 87 kilos.

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